Skeletons in the Island's closet

By Martin Neville

Saturday, January 19, 2013

 

Skeletons in the Island's closet

A map showing dinosaur discoveries, with the Isle of Wight figuring prominently.

AFTER the Isle of Wight was declared the dinosaur capital of Britain this week, a museum boss has said more is being discovered every day about the Island's past.

The Isle of Wight was declared the dinosaur capital of Britain in a map compiled by the Natural History Museum.

It beat the Jurassic Coast of Dorset as the richest area for dinosaur fossil finds, with skeletons more than 125 million years old.

According to Dr Paul Barrett, who compiled the map, the Isle of Wight is also the site of the largest dinosaur find —a neck bone of a sauropod, which would have measured more than 20 metres and weighed roughly 54 tonnes, the same as 30 fully grown elephants.

It was also the Jurassic 'Isle of Fright’, as it was home to the deadliest dinosaur — a neovenator, which measured around 7.5 metres long and had serrated, saw-like teeth for tearing flesh.

Peter Pusey, general manager of the Island’s Dinosaur Isle museum, Sandown, said: "There are nearly 30 species of dinosaurs known to have been found on the Isle of Wight, of which at least three are known to be only from specimens found on the Island.

"A number of other species were first recorded on the Island, such as polacanthus and hypsilophodon.

"Fearsome meat eating dinosaurs found on the Island include the eotyrannus, which is an early cousin of T-Rex and unique to the Isle of Wight, and neovenator (new hunter), which is also unique to the Island.

"This was the largest predator known to the Island and preyed on the herbivore dinosaurs such as iguanodon and hypsilophodon. Also joining these flesh eaters was a dinosaur call baryonyx, which we believe ate fish.

"New material is literally being found every day, especially after the recent wet weather, and with the new material comes new information."

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